by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
Prior to the season we were extremely high on the Twins’ Fernando Romero, ranking him as the team’s best prospect (B+ grade). There was a lot to like coming off a strong 2016 campaign, as we said:
“After missing part of 2014 and all of 2015 it was easy to forget about Romero entering the 2016 season. What he did once taking the mound, though, has got to catch your attention:
- Single-A – 28.0 IP, 1.93 ERA, 0.82 WHIP, 8.04 K/9, 1.61 BB/9
- High-A – 62.1 IP, 1.88 ERA, 0.93 WHIP, 9.39 K/9, 1.44 BB/9
Seeing that type of control, after missing so much time, says a lot, as does his 1.54 GO/AO. A hard thrower, the biggest question may be his size (6’0”) and if he is going to be able to hold up to a full workload. He likely will be brought along slowly, which could ultimately delay his arrival, but he’s a pitcher who you need to keep a close eye on.”
While he’s had his share of struggles, with a 3.51 ERA and 1.34 WHIP, he continues to show all three skills we look for from a pitcher:
- Strikeout Rate – 8.69 K/9
- Walk Rate – 3.36 BB/9
- Groundball Rate – 53.9%
The walks are up a little bit, though he’s coming off a 7.0 inning performance where he didn’t issue a free pass (2 BB over 13.0 IP in his past two starts). If he can continue to refine his control and limit his walks, the potential that we saw in ’16 will once again be fully on display (especially as he’s carrying an 11.6% SwStr%, backing up the strikeout rate).
His poor ERA and WHIP can be attributed to a little bad luck, with a .318 BABIP and 63.1% strand rate. His line drive rate is slightly elevated (22.2%), but there’s still reason to believe in an improvement
There are questions about his size and ability to hold up in the rotation, but the early results at Double-A are promising. While he likely won’t arrive until 2018, Twins fans can get excited to think about the prospects of a Jose Berrios/Fernando Romero top of the rotation combination. Despite the bumps his stock continues to rise and he has the potential to be an impact pitcher in the Majors by this time next year.
Sources – MILB.com, Fangraphs
Make sure to check out all of our 2017 Prospect Rankings: